To this point EJ Manuel has been a failed first round experiment for the Buffalo Bills. First, let’s get it out of the way that he hasn’t been that terrible. Through 15 games he has 19 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and has completed 58 percent of his passes. Numbers wise for a quarterback’s first 15 games, his stats are pretty good.
Now, as a real life QB, and I’ve seen plenty of his games, he’s pretty bad. He struggles in the pocket, and just in general has a hard time accurately getting the ball to his receivers.
Manuel’s struggles are in the past now because Doug Marrone is now gone, and he’s sat on the bench and learned some things over the past 11 games. Manuel has a big arm, he’s pretty fast for someone his size, and there isn’t anything saying he can’t take the next step.
Manuel has a new offensive coordinator, and arguably the best group of skill position players in the NFL at his disposal. The Bills are going to run a lot with LeSean McCoy, but Manuel has the weapons to put up decent numbers when he gets his chances. Now all he has to do is win the starting job.
The same goes for Tyrod Taylor, but I would expect Taylor to be much more fantasy friendly if he wins the job because he is much faster than Manuel. I already spent a bunch of words detailing what Taylor could do if he wins the Bills starting QB job.
“For fantasy owners the aspect to keep in mind with Taylor is his 4.5 speed. If he gets the Bills starting job it’s safe to assume he’ll take off quite a bit, and could at least run for 500 yards to go with a few touchdowns.
However, Taylor’s passing ability shouldn’t be underrated. Taylor has average arm strength, and he can pretty much make all of the throws. Also, judging from college tape, it’s clear he trusts his arm and is willing to make the tough passes in traffic.”
People freaked out because of Bridgewater’s pro day, but guess what? It’s time people starting trusting the tape, and go with what was known all along, and that was Bridgewater was the best QB in the 2014 class.
Bridgewater had a fine year with 15 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, but completed 64 percent of his passes.
Unfortunately for Bridgewater, the Vikings were somewhat dysfunctional in 2014 following the Adrian Peterson situation, poor offensive line play, and a dud of year from breakout candidate Cordarrelle Patterson. Fortunately Chris Johnson stepped up in a big way for Bridgewater.
Entering 2015 the Vikings added a deep threat in Mike Wallace, and will hopefully get back a healthy Kyle Rudolph. Also, the team is in the position to draft one of the top three receivers in the 2015 draft, however they could go into 2015 somewhat comfortable with what is already on the roster.
Receivers aside, Bridgewater proved he has the makeup to be an above-average NFL quarterback, and should take a huge step in his second year.
Bortles was the first quarterback drafted, but didn’t perform as if he was deserving of the title. He completed only 58 percent of his passes, and threw six more interceptions than touchdowns.
Overall the Jaguars offense was underwhelming, and the running game never took off either. Bortles was basically the Jaguars’ best rusher with 419 yards.
You could assume Bortles ran so much because his offensive line was horrible which led to 55 sacks on the season. The Jaguars did help the offensive line with the Jermey Parnell signing, but they could have done much better.
Additionally, the Jaguars are moving on from Jedd Fisch as offensive coordinator to Greg Olson which could be good or it could retard Bortle’s progress. It remains to be seen.
Bortles has a lot of talent to work with, and if the offensive can hold steady he should have an improved sophomore season.
One of my hopes for the 2015 NFL Draft is that the Jets don’t get a shot at Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota. When Geno Smith was drafted in 2013 I hated him, I’m not a Jets fan, but I’ve come around.
Smith had a rookie seasons similar to Blake Bortles, but improved quite a bit in 2014. Even though it seemed like he was in and out of the lineup with Rex Ryan benching him, Smith played 14 games, and had 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Obviously not great, but the Jets were horrible.
Smith’s 2015 outlook is entirely based upon how well he plays in Chan Gailey’s offense. If you remember Gailey led Ryan Fitzpratick to a few serviceable fantasy years as the Bills starting quarterback. However, Gailey didn’t have the weapons in Buffalo that he nows has in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker with the Jets.
As long as Smith can fend off a potential rookie QB and Ryan Fitzpatrick, there should be an opportunity for some usefulness in two QB leagues at the very worst.
Anytime a new QB enters the fray they immediately become fantasy relevant. Because the position is so depleted of great players, rookie QB’s can become the saviors of any fantasy team.
For 2015 there should at least be two new starting quarterbacks in Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, and potential starters in guys like Garrett Grayson, Brett Hundley, and Bryce Petty. Any of these guys could end up in the right situation that could turn them into waiver wire gold.